Whole Wheat Couscous
Choose 10 or 60 lbs
Durum Wheat Semolina
Often mistaken for a grain, couscous (aka seksu, kuskusu) is in fact a tiny pasta/noodle originally from Morocco. Whole wheat couscous is made from roughly milled durum wheat (aka semolina flour) that is dampened with water and then rolled until it gathers together into tiny balls. Each couscous ball is roughly the size of a pin head.
Moroccan couscous is traditionally cooked via slow-steaming, often over a bubbling pot of stew. However in the US couscous is most commonly cooked by steeping in hot water until tender.
Couscous may have originated as a way to protect whole grains against spoilage. In unmodified whole grains the germ, which contains fat that can go rancid in a few months, is near the surface (under the bran). Turning that grain into couscous effectively “turns it inside out” placing the most perishable portion in the center, away from the air. This extends its shelf life up to year.
While couscous is made without kneading (and can thus be produced from grains & grain-like seeds containing little or no gluten) whole wheat or millet are the most traditional choices.
Larger couscous varieties are also available. Lebanese couscous ranges from 1/8”-1/4” in size and Israeli couscous balls are each roughly ¼”. For an exciting variation, try fregola sarda - Italian couscous which is toasted for additional color and a nutty flavor.
Store couscous in an air-tight container in a cool, dry cupboard.
At least a year.
RECIPES & TIPS
To prepare whole wheat couscous, place 1 cup of couscous in a large bowl and cover them with 1 ¼ cups boiling water. Cover the bowl and let it sit for five minutes, then fluff with a fork to separate the granules. Whole wheat couscous triples in size during the cooking process, so 1 cup of dry granules will expand to 3 cups of cooked couscous.
Whole wheat couscous can be used as a starch base for stews, cooked and tossed with ingredients to make a kind of grain salad, or tossed with sautéed vegetables (often onions and garlic) to make a pilaf-style side dish.
Ingredients that pair well with couscous include carrots, onions, celery, garlic, tomatoes & tomato paste, cilantro, spinach, chicken, lamb (especially braised cuts or lamb merguez sausage), quail, curry spices, fresh chervil, cinnamon, Cornish game hens, pomegranate, mint, golden sultana raisins & poussin.
Couscous does not have to be cooked in water. Almost any water-like liquid can be used to infuse it with additional flavor (vegetable & chicken stocks are the most common choices).
If your finished couscous dish is too dry (or you’d like to add some additional richness and flavor), drizzle on a little high quality extra virgin olive oil just before serving.
Traditional-sized couscous can even be made into sweet dishes. There is a sweet version eaten in Morocco that is flavored with cinnamon.